THE END OF EVANGELION (1997)
Updated: Apr 11
The anime phenomenon continued!
Director: Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki
Cast/Voices: Megumi Ogata, Kotono Mitsuishi, Yûko Miyamura, Megumi Hayashibara
Related Animes: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam, Macross, Gunbuster, Patlabor
Neon Genesis Evangelion became an instant phenomenon when it was released back in 1995. The season finale was controversial however. It left hordes of fans disappointed, which led to the making of an alternative ending, in the form of this film.
A lot of unanswered questions were tackled, and a more fulfilling conclusion was presented. Yet, the makers found room for quite a bit of the surreal elements that made the audience roar with dissatisfaction when the original ending was aired.
Some good, some bad
Was it a good idea to elaborate extensively on the original vision of the series? Yes and no. Sure it was nice to have a few questions answered, but still there are huge plot points that are virtually impossible to grasp without a manual. Luckily, in this day and age, anyone can look up countless analyses and explanations online, which makes the entire series much more accessible.
That being said, the surreal atmosphere of both the original ending and - to a lesser extent - this movie has got an inexplicable allure to it. It doesn’t really matter if the idea behind it can be fully explained or not. Room for interpretation and lots unsaid details are after all a time-honored characteristic of many a classic anime. These are arguably the things that made people re-watch Akira (1988) and Ghost in the Shell (1995) till their eyes bled.
Yours truly never did experience the same aversion to the original ending as many die-hard fans of the series. Sure, it was a stretch to save loads of surreal sequences for a brain-twisting final blow. Had the ending been integrated better with the rest of the series though, it would probably have worked just fine. (Full review of Neon Genesis Evangelion is found here)
The film didn’t elaborate all that much on the series to be honest, but it didn’t take away from the overall impression either. As long as it maintained the same atmosphere and added some of the most spectacular fight sequences and animations to the show, there was not much to complain about.
The pompous dialogue from the original ending is also toned down. It still feels somewhat pretentious, but at least it is possible to wrap your head around the plot without having to rewind, pause and contemplate every sentence.
Diving into the story seems meaningless, being that the series is a definite prerequisite for watching this movie. In other words, there is absolutely no point in watching this film without having seen the series first.
Both the series and film had its flaws, but at the same time they had charm and wonder. At its worst NGE can be excruciatingly tedious. At its best it is a mandatory watch for fans of anime and sci-fi alike. For those of you who are just now discovering the series for the first time, the movie should not be forgotten, but preferably follow directly after the episodes.
PS: At the moment NGE is available on Netflix. Anime lovers rejoice!